Sofia Samodurova | Page 24 | Golden Skate

Sofia Samodurova


Thanks for skating, Lyosha!
Record Breaker
Feb 2, 2019
Interview with Sofia from MatchTV (cleaned up auto translation):


The European champion has only recently retired and is already trying herself as a coach. Report from the debut independent training of a bright Russian figure skater. Recently, European champion 19-year-old Sofia Samodurova announced her retirement. Her path in sports turned out to be bright and eventful. However, the ice does not let her go: the figure skater almost immediately began to try herself in the coaching field. To do this, she stayed in St. Petersburg, postponing a planned trip to her family, and held a series of master classes for kids. Perhaps very soon Samodurova will begin to raise students herself. The correspondent of Match TV visited the debut training session of the champion and captured the atmosphere. Sofia also for the first time spoke in detail about the reasons for her cardinal decision, new life and impressions.

At the rink of the famous sports palace "Yubileiny" gathered two dozen children aged 6-10 years. They enthusiastically listen to the coach - a famous athlete who a few months ago actively participated in tournaments and performed in these very walls at the Championship of Russia. For almost 10 years, Sofia Samodurova was engaged in the team of Professor Mishin, and now she herself is in the role of a mentor of young athletes.

"Shoulders down", "elbows pinned", "pull the toe", "look back in the direction of movement"... Such commands are given to young skaters by coach Sofia. She claps her hands loudly to gather the students around her and show them new exercises. At the same time, she remembers an important rule: keep a small distance so that everyone can see her movements. The children watched, were inspired and went to perform steps, spins, jumps.

- The organizer and I developed a training program and thought through every detail. I give exercises by which I immediately understand what the child is capable of. How her thought process works. Does she know how to calculate her strength. This is very important when you need to work at speed. I was also preparing for the lesson psychologically: during the welcome warm-up, I immediately warned that I did not bite and they could ask questions if something was unclear. This is the first time I've seen most of these kids, so I wanted to understand everyone's technical level. And we started in the hall, because the study of each element (especially the jump) first takes place on the floor," says Sofia.

One of the participants of the master class came because of the name of the coach. After all, Sofia is a European champion. Children saw her victories on screen. It is always nice to ride on the same ice with the idol, and even more so, to get knowledge from her. But I've also seen kids who aspire to reach athletic heights. They often drove up to Sofia, asked her to show the exercises individually and clarified whether this or that element turned out well. Inquisitive athletes can be immediately singled out even by an outside observer.

"I would like to thank the Figure Skating Federation of St. Petersburg for supporting our project. "Open lessons" provide, firstly, an opportunity for a brilliant athlete, who has recently completed her career, to demonstrate her talent and share skills with the younger generation. This is a kind of test and a chance to establish yourself as a young specialist. Moreover, Sonya is a student of the outstanding coach Alexei Nikolaevich Mishin. She is the bearer of unique knowledge that led her to the heights of sportsmanship. This knowledge must be preserved, passed from mouth to mouth, from foot to foot, so to speak," says Olga Chepurova, producer of Alexei Mishin's school.

- I was able to join the team of Alexei Nikolaevich as a young specialist. It's a real gift. But I still go to training with my group twice a week. I perform the usual elements there, including jumps. After all, I perform in shows, so I want to keep myself in shape, put on new programs. But this does not prevent me from switching to a new permanent job," Samodurova notes.

Sofia has been working in the group of her long-time mentor Tatyana Nikolaevna Mishina for the second month. Among Mishina's students are Agata Petrova, Roman Khamzin, Andrey Kotsin.

- For now, I am just helping Tatyana Nikolaevna: I observe the students, give them advice. A plan is written for each training, all skaters have separate tasks. We discuss them together with Tatyana Nikolaevna, and so I myself am gradually learning the craft of a mentor. And I will be able to call myself a coach only when my students have results. Now I consider myself to be a novice trainer-practitioner, and at the university I receive a specialized education.

By the way, Sofia at the very end of the season has already managed to participate in competitions in a new capacity together with the skaters of Tatyana Mishina's group.

- I was among the mentors, but I tried not to distract our athletes before the skates. I still have little experience: I don't know who prepares for the performances, how they better tune in, who is more nervous, what jumps, tricks and exercises they do after warming up. Everything is new to me, so it was more important just to look at and study the psychology of children. I was very worried at that tournament - more than for myself, when I was a participant, - Sofia admits.

We talked separately about the end of her career. I wanted to understand how Sofia made this decision – key for every high-level athlete. You can track the situation according to the chronology of the past season.

Sofia performed at the stages of the Cup of Russia and international challengers. According to her, the results remained, in general, satisfying:

- Yes, there were some flaws, mistakes. But it all counts. In any case, I multiply my experience, learn from my mistakes.
She planned to perform at the Universiade in mid-December, but a week before the start it was cancelled (the Winter Universiade-2021 was to be held in Switzerland, it was cancelled due to another strain of coronavirus).
- Of course, we were all upset when we found out. After all, we wanted to get the experience of performing before the Championship of Russia. I was getting ready, I was in good shape. Did this cancellation serve as an important wake-up call? No, rather, I was influenced by a further atmosphere of uncertainty with international competitions. It is that Russian athletes do not know when they will be able to show themselves. Global incentives are gone.

The Russian Championship, held within these walls, left Sofia with mixed feelings. She was very well prepared for it. After skating the short program cleanly, Sofia went to the free skate confidently. But there was a ridiculous mistake on the combination, when the skater did not push off enough with her left foot.

- Of course, the bad aftertaste remained. I burst into tears at the end because I was unhappy with myself. In training, I never made a mistake on the combination, so I was surprised myself," says the figure skater.

But Alexei Mishin found the right words, as always in difficult moments. He told the student that it was just a ridiculous accident and still you should not give up.

After the performance, Sofia went to the hotel and did not watch the skates of other participants. Her teammate Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, who fought for the Olympic ticket, she wished good luck before the start.

- I didn't say anything else because Lisa knows everything without me. She is 25 years old, a huge amount of knowledge! She knows how to set herself up. Before the competition, the figure skater, on the contrary, it is better not to remind once again that now there is a selection for the Olympic Games. This is psychologically pressing on a person. We are athletes, not robots," says Sofia.

For the first time, the figure skater thought about leaving the big sport immediately after the Russian Championships, and the decisive conversation with the coach took place three months later - at the end of March. Before that, Sofia managed to share her thoughts with her parents, and they supported. Friends from the group also took the situation normally. Moreover, Sofia continues to communicate with them: every day she meets on the ice during classes with the younger group.

- Overall, I survived the change calmly, without sadness. There is definitely no sense of underachievement. After all, we need to objectively assess our capabilities. What our girls are doing now is beyond my capabilities. There was, however, one emotional evening – when I posted a farewell post on social networks. A lot of people sent kind messages, fans posted clips of videos from my performances. I watched everything, plunged into the memories and burst into tears. Throughout my career, I followed public opinion, read reviews in different spaces. This attention of fans has always motivated, - admits Samodurova.

Sofia has come quite a long way for modern women's single skating: 4 junior and 4 adult seasons. The most valuable tournaments for her are: the victorious European Championship, the World Team Championship and the Individual World Championship (in this order).

- All these years I have been helped by a team with whom I have been with for almost 10 years. Also, my beloved family has always tried to understand any decision. As soon as I wanted to speak, the first thing I did was call my mom. Now my relatives live mainly in Kazakhstan, so we communicate via instant messengers. But my mother tries to come to St. Petersburg every two months, they alternate with my father. Another important success factor is the support of friends. Well, my strong character, stress resistance," explains Sofia.

Sofia's favourite program from her own repertoire is "Burlesque" of the 2018/19 season. It was staged by Ilya Averbukh, and it turned out to be the happiest. Today, the figure skater sometimes performs in ice shows, goes on tour to different cities. There are four illustrative numbers in the arsenal: two old and two created specifically for the show. Just recently in Olenegorsk, Sofia skated to the song "My All" by Mariah Carey (choreographer Tatyana Prokofieva) and the song "Blue Handkerchief" (staged by Nikolai Moroshkin, choreographer of Tamara Moskvina's club).

And one of the main gifts from figure skating Sofia considers friends who remain close at the end of their careers. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Matvey Vetlugin, athletes of the group of Evgeni Rukavitsin, dancers Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin, Sofia Shevchenko.

- I met Sonya [Shevchenko] six years ago in Japan – at my first Junior Grand Prix – and immediately found a common language. And Sasha [Stepanova] and I lived together at the European Championships in Minsk and became very close. Since then, she has often been in touch, – concludes Sofia.


Record Breaker
Nov 28, 2020
Coach Sofia will be skating on the 18th and 19th of January.

She will be one of the participants in an ice show commemorating the end of the siege of Leningrad.